Should You Spring for Pet Insurance?

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Should You Spring for Pet Insurance
We all love our pets, but when your furry friend gets hurt or sick, the medical expenses can be more than your budget can handle. Here we help you determine whether pet insurance is worth the investment.

Let's start with the three different types of coverage you can get. Accident coverage is the most common and every pet health insurance company should offer this, regardless of your pet's age. Meanwhile, illness coverage is more limited and becomes more expensive as your pet gets older. Finally, wellness coverage is for routine annual exams, and according to Consumer Reports and, it's not generally worth the cost since an annual checkup is usually something you can safely cover on your own. In this case, paying your vet directly can help you to avoid the extra sales charges from the insurance company.

Next, do a little research to understand exactly what the insurance will cover. Coverage varies from policy to policy so pay close attention to the terms for each plan. In general, most policies will cover things like diagnostic tests, surgeries, medications and treatment. Dental work and preexisting conditions are usually not covered, so keep that in mind.

One last thing to consider are the factors that will affect the cost of your insurance. While most companies offer a variety of plans for every budget, how much you pay depends on factors like where you live, your pet's health history, breed, age and gender, the deductible and the amount of coverage. Watch out for premium increases, too, which can vary by state.

So, is pet insurance worth it? It really depends. Evaluate your financial situation and how much you're willing to pay for some peace of mind. Because when it comes to providing a long and happy life for your pet, a little financial planning can go a long way.

10 Insurance Policies to Avoid
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Should You Spring for Pet Insurance? -- Savings Experiment
When it comes to insurance, people often think that it's better to be safe than sorry, but often wind up spending more money than they should on coverage they don't need.

Click through our gallery to see 10 of the more common types of insurance that experts believe are a waste of money for most people.

Do you own one of these policies?
Why You Don't Need It:
While losing a child is about the toughest thing that a parent can experience from an emotional standpoint, by in large it does not lead to economic hardship. "No one is depending on the baby's income or the child's income for continued survival," Robert Hunter, director of insurance for the Consumer Federation of America, says. "Economically, it's not an appropriate thing to do."
Why You Don't Need It:
One company selling these types of policies advertises that it provides "essential coverage against enormous risk." Both Hunter and Greg Daugherty, executive editor of 'Consumer Reports,' don't agree with that sentiment, arguing that it's wasteful for consumers to protect themselves against dying in a particular way. "If you are killed, to your family it's a big loss however you are killed," Daugherty said. "You don't need to protect against any particular way of getting killed. You are much better off having a good insurance."
Why You Don't Need It:
Unless someone is in a particularly dangerous profession such as a stunt man, this type of insurance isn't needed. Moreover, most people don't die from accidents, making it unlikely that a person's heirs will ever see the money. Experts recommend having a comprehensive life insurance policy instead. "You wouldn't buy toothpaste a squeeze out of the tube at a time," Hunter said.
Why You Don't Need It:
Most people don't need coverage to protect against a trip cancellation unless they are seriously ill and are worried that a reoccurrence of their disease may hamper their trip plans, Hunter said. This coverage might be worth it for people who are planning a particularly expensive trip that would be difficult to reschedule otherwise.
Why You Don't Need It:
Most people are better off buying term insurance rather than whole life, which includes an investment component that people can borrow against. "We're solidly on the side of term insurance for most people," said Daugherty, adding that people need to make sure that a spouse who doesn't work outside the home also is covered because their death would "create a financial need on the part of the family."
Why You Don't Need It:
Insurance against inconveniences -- having rain on your vacation and losing a pair of contact lenses -- may be annoying but they are hardly the end of the world. Nonetheless, there are policies available for these situations, Hunter said. On a related note, consumers should avoid buying extended warranties on consumer electronics, according to Daugherty.
Why You Don't Need It:
Consumers are increasingly worried that someone will steal their confidential information online. Consumer Reports, though, recommends that people regularly check their credit reports, which are available for free, instead. "We haven't been impressed with what we have seen so far," Daugherty said.
Why You Don't Need It:
It makes no sense to have comprehensive and collision insurance on an old car that's not a classic. The insurance company will only give you the official Blue Book value of the vehicle if it's totaled in an accident, said Carolyn Gorman of the Insurance Institute of America.
Why You Don't Need It:
These are often a waste of money. Most electronics goods of decent quality will not fail while they are under warranty. "We think they are generally not worth the money," said Daugherty of Consumer Reports.
Why You Don't Need It:
These policies will pay your credit cards or mortgage payments in the event someone becomes will or loses their job. Instead, people should make sure that they have enough money saved for a rainy day.
Finding affordable health care is no easy feat -- and it's not getting easier. Seeking out a less expensive plan is obviously the fastest way to cut your insurance costs, but you may end up sacrificing key benefits.

Instead, here are five ways to help lower your health insurance bill without lowering your standard of care.
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Pay Less for Car Insurance

Have you gone shopping for the best car insurance coverage lately? If not, you may be throwing money away. Experts recommend that consumers review car insurance policies every year. Yet, only 20 to 35 percent of people actually do so.

Click through our gallery to see how to make sure you are getting the best deal.
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